Long Hair Tips

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

8 tips to maintain healthy long hair

Long hair requires extra care and attention to keep it looking it’s absolute best. Here, we share our top 8 tips for looking after your beautiful long tresses.

Wash your hair the right way

Healthy, beautiful, shiny hair starts in the shower. Firstly, it’s important to pay attention to how you wash your hair. Do you reach for a large dollop of shampoo and scrunch all over your hair, covering the roots, lengths and ends, like they do in the adverts?

If you answered yes (probably just like the majority of us would), then you’re doing it wrong, and likely drying ou your hair.  You should focus shampooing at the scalp, as this is where most of the oil buildup happens. It’s important to massage the shampoo into the scalp gently with your fingers (not nails!) to work out the build-up. Giving your scalp an invigorating massage while you shampoo is a good way to encourage blood circulation which can encourage hair growth.

When it comes to conditioner, squeeze all the excess water out of your hair gently before applying. Your hair can only let so much moisture in and if it is full of water, the moisturising properties form your conditioner will just sit on the outside of your hair and not penetrate the cuticle.  Keep conditioner along the length and ends of your hair away from your scalp. Try and keep the water cool when rinsing, blasting your scalp with extremely hot water dries out your hair and create tangles that could result in breakage. 

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 Try not to over-wash your hair

Your hair’s natural oils are designed to condition and protect your tresses, so when you shampoo daily, it strips these vital oils away. It creates a vicious cycle of over-production of oils and a need to shampoo very often. Ideally, to keep your hair healthy, you only need to wash two to three times a week. Invest in a good natural dry shampoo to help tide you over until your next wash and add volume and texture. 

Dry with a hair wrap or an old t-shirt instead of a towel 

It may seem slightly simplistic, but those with curly hair are already in the know when it comes to this well-tested trick. Rather than a waffle brushed cotton towel, use a smooth fabric, such as cotton or a microfibre towel to get rid of excess moisture before heat styling. This way the hair shaft is not caused to fray when you wrap it to dry. The strands are kept sleeker within the fabric, reducing the likelihood of frizz or damage. Read more tips on how to get rid of frizzy hair here. 

 

When it comes to sleeping on long hair, wrapping your hair in a silk wrap will help in more ways than expected – not only will your hair be protected from your cotton pillowcase, you won’t have to worry about it being slept on and pulled throughout the night. You will also find your styles will stay in for longer, meaning less heat styling is needed.

 

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Use a low-heat setting for hair drying and point the nozzle down, not sideways

As a general rule of thumb, one of the worst things you can do for your hair is overheated it with excessive blow-drying. If you want to avoid dry and damaged locks, you need to either rein in how often you use a hairdryer or pay attention to how you’re using it.

Try and keep the dryer at a distance from your hair, ideally keep the hairdryer nozzle two inches away from the strands. Drying your hair from the side makes the hair frizzy by pushing it all over the place. Therefore, the nozzle should be pointed straight down, about three inches away from the hair for best results. 

Indulge in deep hydrating treatments twice a week

As well as using your regular conditioner when you wash your hair, it is important to look after your hair with a nourishing mask once a week to deeply conditioning and hydrate your hair. Look for those with natural ingredients such as oils and butter such as Argan oil and shea butter.

The same effect can also be achieved by using a warmed oil such as vitamin E, Argan or Avocado oil. To get the best results, gently warm the oil and apply to your hair. Wrap in a warm towel and wash out after about five minutes. The heated oil allows it to be more easily absorbed into the hair, boosting its effective qualities. 

 

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Never forget to use heat protectant

It goes without saying – we all know we should use one, but it’s such an easy-to-forget step, that really makes a difference and offers essential protection from insense heat styling, which we are all guilty of doing. A heat protectant forms a protective barrier around the strands and conditions the hair from the inside out, thus preventing damage and ensuring your style is sleek and frizz-free. Avoid silicone-based products which can have a cling film style effect on your hair. 

 

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Tie up with hair bands that don’t pull at the root

The 90’s scrunchy is back and secretly your hair couldn’t be more happy about it. Using a band like a scrunchie, or the coil type bands place a lot less pressure on your hair, which means your hair is not pulled at the root. This makes sure the hair isn’t under any unnecessary stress, keeping the strands strong and resilient. Low manipulation styles such as braids secured with non-snag bands will also place less stress on your hair.

 

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Invest in the right hairbrush

With long hair, It’s important that your hairbrush helps smooth the hair shaft, to minimize any breakage. A natural fibre brush, like the boar bristle, helps to minimize friction when brushing. Therefore, the hair doesn’t get caught on any knots, leaving the hair smooth and silky without pulling out hair strands.  Start at the ends of the hair and work your way up rather than top-down. This ensures no pressure is put on the roots and reduces the desire to aggressively pull a brush through any tangles, minimizing damage. Make sure you only ever use a wide-tooth comb when the hair is wet or ideally, use your fingers to rake products through your hair and to detangle. Brushing when damp can cause a lot of damage as it stretches the strands rather than separates them, which ultimately will cause breakage.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.